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A Proposed Examination of the Emotional Labor of Tour Guides Who Interpret the History of Enslavement

Abstract
There has been a recent societal shift to investigate the enslaved’s lives more holistically, particularly in tourism spaces (Alderman, Butler, & Hanna, 2016). And while it is crucial to present the narratives of enslaved people with empathy, humanity, and individuality, it is also emotionally laborious work. Interpreters and docents in historic sites frequented by tourists have to compete with visitor misinformation about slavery, engage with the difficult topic of enslavement multiple times a day, and deal with their own racial baggage and that of the visitors (Tyson & Dungey, 2014). This proposed research will investigate the emotional costs of interpreting enslavement and identify ways curators and managers can provide training and support for docents. Collecting oral histories of docents who interpret enslavement will allow for an in-depth and nuanced understanding of docents’ work experiences, interpreting the traumatic topic of slavery and its impacts on them as a whole person.
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event
Date
2021
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